Tag Archives: exercise-induced urticaria

A running joke

Part deux of my latest plot to take over the world involves me exercising. Just a teeny bit. Nothing too ambitious. Just steadily, you know. On days when I take Mabel to school I go on my bike and then cycle the loop around town and back home. It comes to four miles, and there are two uphills and some downy bits too. On days when I take Dash to school I park at the lake on the way home and run around it, just once, and then get into my car and drive back up the hill home. Very lazy, but more likely to be done that way. The lake loop is, what, 2k or so; maybe a mile.

It’s not much, but even in three weeks I’ve seen my ability to run before I have to start walking again increase, and I can get further up the last hill on my bike before I have to get off and push. The sense of improvement is nice, and I’m sleeping better too.

However. Last time I went for a run was Thursday (because Mabel was off school on Friday), and I wore a new pair of running bottoms (pants, whatever you want to call them) that I’d picked up in Marshall’s. They’re actually the sort that are fitted all the way down the leg instead of being nice flappy yoga pantsy ones. Good for rainy days, but requiring a bit more chutzpah to wear in public, for me at least.

When I got home I found that I was absentmindedly, and then more vigorously, scratching my legs. In fact, my thighs were all itchy. I went to take a shower and discovered that my upper legs were red and hot and covered with itchy bumps. Welts, you might even say, if you were being dramatic. Either giant mosquitoes had got into my pants or I was allergic to something, because I never bother to wash a new item before I wear it. I’ve never needed to before.

I threw them violently into the laundry basket, in two minds whether I’d ever give them a second chance even after an encounter with the washing machine or just shred them with a shears on the spot. I decided to see how long it took for the itchies to go away before deciding.

They were still there after a shower, but they faded pretty quickly after I’d got dressed. I supposed I could give the new bottoms another chance, in time, if they repented properly.

Today was a bike-ride day, wearing my old comfy flappy-ankled yoga pants… and yet, when I got home, there I was once again with the scratching and the itching and the welts. A little light Googling told me the terrible truth…

… exercise literally brings me out in hives.

Yes, it’s exercise-induced urticaria, otherwise known as getting itchy legs when you exercise. It can happen more in cold weather, which explains why I didn’t experience it before last week, when the weather turned. Though I have in the past exercised in much colder weather with no such effects – this must be another lovely thing about getting older. (Or more unfit, maybe.)

The good news is that people hardly ever die of being allergic to exercise. And today’s hives didn’t even last until I stepped into the shower, so I think maybe the reaction is getting weaker. I like to think of it as all the nasty toxins forcing themselves out through my pores, getting ready to leave my thighs sleek and smooth and toned and golden. (A girl can dream.) I will continue to exercise, no matter what urticaria throws at me, by golly I will.

So. Just as well I didn’t take a shears to the new pants. They get a reprieve.